What Are the Pros and Cons of Each Material for Your Driveway?
Asphalt and concrete are by far the two most popular materials for driveways in Ramsey. They both start out as mixtures of sand and stone. It’s the adhesive or binding agent that distinguishes them. Asphalt uses the tar residue that remains when crude oil is refined into fuel. The adhesive for concrete is cement. However, this difference in composition impacts the price contractors must charge to install a driveway as well as the appearance, durability and maintenance requirements.
Up-Front Installation Cost
The cost of installing a new or replacement driveway is lower when the contractor uses asphalt. Putting in a concrete surface may run up to twice as much per square foot. With asphalt, black is the normal color. Tinted asphalt came onto the market in recent years, so today you have more choices. Concrete is more flexible because it may be stained various colors, and installed with varying textures and appearances. However, electing a tinted or specially textured concrete driveway can add considerably to the cost.
If you live in a region that is prone to freezing weather, concrete won’t wear as well. Water seeps in and expands when it freezes, causing concrete to crack. Asphalt may be a better choice in cold climates because it isn’t likely to crack at subfreezing temperatures. In hot climates, asphalt becomes soft and tacky due to the tar content, and is more susceptible to wear and tear under these conditions. Hot weather doesn’t bother concrete.
Maintenance and Durability
One advantage of concrete for a driveway is that maintenance is minimal. You may need to remove stains with degreaser, but that’s about it. You can expect a concrete drive to last 30 or 40 years. Concrete does not have to be sealed, although sealing can extend its useful life in cold climates. You can expect an asphalt driveway to last in the neighborhood of 20 years. Sealing an asphalt surface is necessary every 3 to 5 years.
Repairing asphalt is easier than it is for concrete, and patches usually blend into the black surface. Also, you can resurface asphalt, thus giving it a new appearance. Resurfacing isn’t an option with concrete. When concrete driveways deteriorate too much, replacement is necessary.
The best advice is to talk to your local Ramsey contractor. Consider all the factors that affect your choice so that you pick the best material for your driveway.
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